Jan 2015 - Bristol is European Green Capital 2015

The start of 2015 saw the Suspension Bridge bathed in green light to mark the beginning of Bristol's year as European Green Capital. We are the first UK city to hold this prestigious title, and it is the culmination of ambitious plans initiated by the Council's former Lib Dem administration to put Bristol on the map for the city's environmental credentials.

The Green Capital award is run by the European Commission, as a way of raising the profile of environmental issues and promoting sustainable, low-carbon living. Bristol's Green Capital year will see a series of events designed to engage and inspire the whole city. In addition, there are three separate grant funds available for Neighbourhood Partnerships, small projects and bigger strategic projects, and there is also a Neighbourhood Arts Programme to help get art projects happening in local communities.

Bristol has a lot of reasons to be proud. We use less energy per household than any major UK city, we have the highest cycling rates of any major UK city, and over the past ten years, recycling rates have soared from a paltry 13% to nearly 50%. We also have bold ambitions. When the Lib Dems ran the Council in 2009, we committed to achieving a 40% cut in carbon emissions by 2020, both for the city as a whole, and for the City Council itself. Just last month, the Mayor confirmed that we are well ahead of target.

Lib Dem MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams helped to secure £7m of government funding for the Green Capital bid. He said, "Green issues are important to many Bristolians and I am delighted that the city's commitment to tackling climate change and improving quality of life has been recognised. This will be an exciting year, and I look forward to seeing many brilliant plans come to fruition."

Although Bristol now has an independent Mayor, it is great to see him continue to build on the solid foundations laid by the previous Lib Dem administration.